Distinguished Board Member Certification

Ongoing professional development for school board members is vital to maximize their contribution to the school board and superintendent governance team. Each June at the Igniting Great Ideas Summit, MSBA recognizes school board members for continuing their learning beyond the state-required CBM Essential Training for new board members. Applications may be submitted at any time, but are due no later than May 1. Engraved certification plaques will be presented during the MSBA Igniting Great Ideas Summit.  Contact MSBA for credit verification forms for participation in NSBA virtual events.


  • Earn MSBA Essential, Advanced and Master certification
  • Fulfill Refresher Training requirement through MSBA for current year
  • Earn 20 additional credits
  • Attend two MSBA core meetings; at least one in year of application
  • Read one book from the MSBA list related to an educational or board governance topic and complete Distinguished Book Reflection Form
  • Observe a school board meeting in two other districts; submit Board Meeting Observation Credit Form and meeting agenda for each
  • Verify completion of at least eight activities in at least two of the categories of Leadership, Advocacy or Presentation and provide verification. The activities must have occurred within the most recent three consecutive years of your board services unless otherwise noted and be recorded on the Documentation of Activities form.

Leadership Category

  • Serve as MSBA Board of Directors representative for at least one year; attend entire meeting for at least 75% of the meetings
  • Serve as MSBA Regional Executive Committee Chair; participate in at least 75% of the meetings
  • Serve as regional representative on the MSBA Advocacy, Delegate Coordinator, or Leadership Development committee for at least one year; participate in at least 75% of the meetings
  • Serve on MSBA FutureBuilders Committee; participate in 75% of meetings/calls
  • Represent MSBA on special committees or work groups
  • Fulfill responsibilities as an officer of your local board for at least one year
  • Participate in at least 75% of the local board appointed/approved committee meetings for which you are a member
  • Appointed to represent local board on a local community committee

Advocacy Category

  • Participate in two of the three MSBA Legislative Forums and/or Legislative Lunch & Learn Webinars
  • Serve as the MSBA Delegate for your district for at least one year and participate/vote in both of the Delegate Assemblies
  • Correspond/visit with local, state and/or national elected officials in alignment with the MSBA platform for public education
  • Participate in at least one MSBA Federal Relations Network (FRN) opportunity
  • Participate in regional/community advocacy group; report to local board or use information to communicate with legislators

Presentation Category
Make a presentation, on behalf of your board, related to a district and/or board practice/program at:

  • MSBA Annual Conference
  • MSBA Leadership Summit
  • CES Safe Schools and Colleges Conference
  • MSBA Regional Meeting
  • NSBA Conference
  • Local civic club/organization, educational organization, media outlet or another school board
  • Appointed to represent local board in media interview

Here are the forms and information you will need for Distinguished certification.


Leadership Development Department
Phone: 800-221-6722, ext. 329
Email: training@mosba.org

Core Meetings

MSBA events: Legislative Lunch & Learn Webinars, Regional Meetings, Igniting Great Ideas Summit, Delegate Assembly, Safe Schools and Colleges Forum, Annual Conference; NSBA events: Annual Conference, Equity Symposium, CUBE Conference; COSSBA: Annual Conference, Urban Boards Alliance Symposium.

Credit Requirement

Credit is awarded for participation in MSBA/CES conference concurrent sessions, regional meetings, and webinars; participation in MSBA Delegate Assemblies, online training, whole board workshops, board self evaluation; observing board meetings in other districts; reading extra books; and attending NSBA or COSSBA conference sessions.

Check your Credits

Book Requirement

Books must pertain to education or to board governance, must be authored in the last ten years, and must be at least 100 pages in length. Books must be on the approved booklist, unless prior permission is obtained from training@mosba.org.

Online Booklist
Printed Booklist

Request an Account

Remember, you’ll need your MSBA login and password to access these member-only documents. If you forgot your password, email Eileen Woody, woody@mosba.org for assistance.